Q&As

Can someone be held liable for five years’ crop loss and be forced to erect a fence if rabbits from their land have been damaging the neighbour's crops? Can the individual be held liable regardless of the gravity of the damages incurred, or is there a minimal damage threshold?

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Produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne
Published on LexisPSL on 14/09/2020

The following Property Disputes Q&A produced in partnership with Desmond Kilcoyne provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Can someone be held liable for five years’ crop loss and be forced to erect a fence if rabbits from their land have been damaging the neighbour's crops? Can the individual be held liable regardless of the gravity of the damages incurred, or is there a minimal damage threshold?

Can someone be held liable for five years’ crop loss and be forced to erect a fence if rabbits from their land have been damaging the neighbour's crops? Can the individual be held liable regardless of the gravity of the damages incurred, or is there a minimal damage threshold?

First, a private nuisance may be and usually is caused by a person doing, on their own land, something which they are lawfully entitled to do. Their conduct only becomes a nuisance when the consequences of their act are not confined to their own land but extend to the land of their neighbour. This can occur either by encroachment, physical damage to that land, or, interference with the neighbour’s enjoyment. However, it is well recognised now that omissions, as well as acts, or activities, can found a nuisance. Today, a landowner owes a measured duty in both negligence and nuisance (ie the duty in Leakey v National Trust) to take reasonable steps to prevent natural occurrences on their land from causing damage to neighbouring properties. Further, in determining the content of the measured duty, the court must consider what is fair, just and reasonable as between the two neighbouring landowners. It must have regard to all the circumstances, including the extent of the foreseeable risk, the available preventive measures, the costs of such measures and the

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